Seventh Circuit strikes down Chicago restrictions on gun ranges
Chicago’s latest attempts to ban gun ranges within its city has failed again in federal court, again at the Seventh Circuit. The three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling that overturned zoning restrictions that clearly intended to keep ranges from operating. In a 2-1 split, the appellate court also overturned a blanket ban on minors entering gun ranges under any circumstances (via NewsAlert):
The appeals court on Wednesday ruled that city ordinances restricting gun ranges to manufacturing areas in Chicago are unconstitutional. The ordinances also placed limits on the distances they can be located in relation to other gun ranges and to residential areas, schools, parks and places of worship.
A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals noted the city claimed the ordinances serve important public health and safety interests, specifically that they attract gun thieves, cause airborne lead contamination and carry a risk of fire.
“The city has provided no evidentiary support for these claims, nor has it established that limiting shooting ranges to manufacturing districts and distancing them from the multiple and various uses listed in the buffer-zone rule has any connection to reducing these risks,” the court wrote in its opinion.
Interestingly, the governing opinion for the case known as Ezell II was written by Diane Sykes. Sykes has been rumored to be a short-lister for Donald Trump in his choices for filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia’s passing a year ago. The current thinking is that Trump might want Sykes for a later opening, especially if he needs to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but this might not be a bad audition either way.